Carlota Ciganda of Spain, playing before family and friends in her home country, was the star as Europe pulled out a 14-14 tie in the 18th Solheim Cup to retain possession of the trophy.
The 33-year-old Ciganda, the only player on either team to go undefeated and untied in the three-day event, won the last two holes with birdies to defeat Nelly Korda, 2 and 1, at Club de Golf Finca Cortesin in Andalucia, Spain.
Non-playing European Captain Suzann Pettersen of Sweden knows exactly how that feels, since she made the putt that gave the Euros a 14½-13½ victory over the U.S. in 2019 at Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course in Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland.
Europe won the previous two Solheim Cups and four of the last six, and while the U.S. leads the series, 10-7-1, it hasn’t won since a 16½-11½ victory at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2017, and last won on European soil, 14½-13½, in 2015 at Golf Club St. Leon-Rot in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany.
“It’s amazing, all the support from my family, friends,” said Ciganda, who went 4-0 after sitting out the first Foursomes session on Friday. “I have a lot of people here. To play in Spain is always special. To play a Solheim Cup here has been just an unbelievable week.
“I love the captain, I love Suzann, and I just really wanted to play good for her. I’m very happy to win the four points in Spain in front of the home crowd. The Americans, they played amazing as well, so congrats to both teams.”
Said Pettersen, whose team rallied from a 4-0 deficit on the first day: “Does it get any better than this? This is a dream come true. We had a massive challenge ahead of us today. We’ve created history yet again in the Solheim Cup, and these girls are legends.”
The teams were tied, 8-8, entering the final day and went 6-6 in the 12 Singles matches.
Lexi Thompson, who went 3-1, gave the Americans a 14-13 lead with her 2-and-1 victory over Emily Kristine Pederson of Denmark before Ciganda pulled out her victory over Korda, who tied the match with a birdie on the 15th hole.
Other victories for the U.S. came when Lilia Vu of Fountain Valley and UCLA downed Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden, 4 and 3; Angel Yin of Arcadia defeated Celine Boutier of France, 2 and 1; Danielle Kang of Thousand Oaks and Pepperdine beat Charley Hull of England, 4 and 2, and Megan Kang, who went 3-0-1, edged past Linn Grant of Sweden, who was 3-2, 1 up.
Winning for Europe were Leona Magurie of Ireland who finished 3-2 by beating Rose Zhang of Irvine and Stanford 4 and 3; Anna Nordqvist of Sweden with a 2-and-1 victory over Jennifer Kupcho; Caroline Hedwall of Sweden by 2 up over Ally Ewing, while Maja Stark of Sweden beat Allisen Corpuz of USC, 2 and 1.
Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach and Stanford halved her match with Georgia Hall of England, and Cheyenne Knight, who was 2-0-1, also tied with Emma Dryburgh of Scotland.
“What a moment for Carlota and women’s golf,” non-playing U.S. Captain Stacy Lewis said. “Such a cool finish there. My team played their hearts out. I’m just so proud of them, the way they fought.
“We played the back nine better all week, and they just hung in there and hung in there with every match. I just told then, ‘We didn’t lose.’ It was a tie and there was so much to build off this week. I think these (five) rookies learned a lot and that’s what it’s about.”
The biennial Solheim Cup, its schedule disrupted by the Coronavirus Pandemic in recent years, will move back to even years in 2024 when it is played at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Va.
For complete results, visit: https://www.lpga.com/tournaments/the-solheim-cup/leaderboard